*Believe Me* at the Evangelical Theological Society


I have never been to the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society  before.  It is not my professional crowd.  But when a few members asked if they could put together a session on Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, I agreed to participate.  See you in Denver on November 13, 2018.  I have never been part of a 3 hour and 10 minute conference session before, so this should be interesting.  I am sure I will have much to support.

9:00 AM-12:10 PM

American Christianity

A Review Session of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump by John Fea

Tower Building–Mezzanine Level Silver

Moderator: Miles S. Mullin II (Hannibal-LaGrange University)


Miles S. Mullin II (Hannibal-LaGrange University)

Introduction of the book and the presenters

9:15-9:45 AM

Justin Taylor (Crossway Books)

9:50-10:20 AM

Gary Steward (Colorado Christian College)


Jemar Tisby (University of Mississippi)


John Fea (Messiah College)


Panel and Audience Discussion

The Most Masculine and Southern Academic Event in the World?

OK, maybe the title is a bit of a stretch, but not by much.

The other day I was chatting with some friends about the 2015 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society which took place two weeks ago in Atlanta. According to its website, the Evangelical Theological Society was formed in 1949 “to foster conservative Biblical scholarship by providing a medium for oral exchange and written expression of thought and research in the general field of the theological disciplines as centered in the Scriptures.”

If our crack research team at The Way of Improvement Leads Home did its math correctly, there were 722 presenters at this year’s meeting. This does not include moderators or scholars who sat on panels or round tables. These speakers gave presentations on a whole host of theological, historical, and biblical subjects. You can get a taste of some of the session themes by perusing the program.

According to our research, 664 of the 722 presentations were delivered by men.  That is roughly 91%.  This means that 58 of the 722 presentations were delivered by women.  That is roughly 9%.

I welcome your reflections on this.

But wait, there’s more.

According to our rough counting, nearly 20% of the presentations at this year’s ETS meeting were made by scholars or graduate students affiliated with Southern Baptist institutions. (Again, this does not include moderators, commentators, or panelists who did not have a title associated with their presentation).

Five institutions: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary accounted for 88% of these presentations by Southern Baptists.

Again, I welcome your reflections on this.  I think there might be a research project here.

History at the Evangelical Theological Society

I have never been to the annual meeting of The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS).  This year it is being held in Baltimore from November 19-21.  The theme is biblical authority.  Traditionally the ETS meets a few days before the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion(AAR).  I just learned this today.

Since I may need to go to Baltimore for the AAR (Baker Academic wants to shoot some promotional video for Why Study History?), I thought I would check out the ETS program to see if any papers caught my eye.  A few did.  And here they are:

John Wilsey, “American Pietas: Considering the Theological Problem of American Exceptionalism”

Gary Steward, “The Development of American Evangelicalism and the American Revolution: Insights from Reformed Political Thought”

Peter Enns, “Abandoning Inerrancy is Necessary for Evangelical Integrity”

Kevin Vanhoozer, “Augustinian Inerrancy: A Well-Versed Account”

John Woodbridge “The Biblical Inerrancy Historiography: A House of Cards Ready to Tumble”

Todd Mangum, “The Co-Development of Inerrancy and Dispensational Premillennialism in Early Fundamentalism”

Miles Mullin II, “When Inerrancy Failed: Twentieth-Century Evangelicals and Race in America”

Nathan Finn, “John R. Rice, Bob Jones Jr, and the ‘Mechanical Dictation’ Controversy: Finalizing the Fracturing of Independent Fundamentalism”

Gregory A. Wills, “Southern Baptists, Southern Seminary, and the Battle over Inerrancy”

Richard Pierard, “Problems Besetting the Evangelical Left: Why the ‘Moral Minority’ Could Not Become a Majority: Observations of a Participant Observer.”

Chris Gehrz, “The Global Reflex: An International Historian Appraises David Swartz’s Moral Minority.”

Douglas Sweeney, “Jonathan Edwards on the Character of Scritpture (and Its Readers).

A couple of observations after reading this program:

1.  I did not realize that the whole debate over biblical inerrancy that raged within evangelicalism in the 1970s and 1980s has not disappeared, although it looks like a lot of evangelical church historians have chosen to examine this debate as a historical phenomenon rather than as a theological issue.

2.  I was really struck by just how white and male the ETS is.